London isn’t forced to choose, why should we?

Northern mayors & council leaders are calling for HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail to be delivered in full.

The Prime Minister is expected to give the green light to HS2 from London to Birmingham today. However, reports suggest Boris Johnson will stop short of giving full approval to the second phase for the North. Instead he will set up a review into the delivery of HS2 and NPR.

Political leaders in the North are speaking with one, powerful and united voice to ensure the Government is no doubt about the importance of HS2 and NPR for the UK economy.

Mayors and council leaders across the North – including Andy Burnham, Steve Rotheram, Dan Jarvis, Sir Richard Leese, Judith Blake, Susan Hinchcliffe and Nick Forbes – have come together to support the Connecting Britain campaign.

In a joint statement the collective said: “The North of England needs new rail lines that go north-south and west-east. London isn’t being forced to choose, it’s getting Crossrail and HS2; we shouldn’t be forced to either. We need HS2 & NPR delivered in full. The Government needs to be clear we will not accept a gold-plated high-speed line between London & Birmingham, then once again the North getting the scraps.

“We understand the independent Oakervee review recommends bringing HS2 and NPR together under one project lead. We would welcome this to ensure we get the phasing in the right order and that we bring the earliest benefits that we can across the North. If we simply try to bolt NPR on to HS2 infrastructure then we risk repeating the mistakes of the past, where our infrastructure is unable to cope with the growth in demand.

“This would also help us develop the right solution for the vital west-east connections across the north. We need to build the full NPR network – connecting Liverpool, Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly, Bradford City Centre, Leeds, York, Hull, Sheffield and Newcastle.

“The Victorians built the train lines that form the vast part of our national railway, but we can’t rely on this forever. Transforming rail capacity and connectivity in the North will create economic growth, improve productivity, boost jobs and skills, increase prosperity and support a transition to a low-carbon economy.

“After decades of underinvestment in strategic rail infrastructure, HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail integrated together represent a once-in-a-generation chance to transform connectivity, attract investment, and boost skills and opportunity across the North.”

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